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Weekly Wrap: November 30, 2023

30/11/23
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The information in the Weekly Wrap is aggregated from other news sources to provide you with news that is relevant to the education sector across Australia and worldwide. Each paragraph is a summary of the subject matter covered in the particular news article. The information does not necessarily reflect the views of Ideagen CompliSpace.

Content Warning: The Weekly Wrap may contain references to child abuse and self harm. If you need support contact Lifeline on 13 11 14, 1800 Respect on 1800 737 732, Bravehearts on 1800 272 831 or Find support services in your state or territory.

 

Australia

New Study Reveals Impact of NAPLAN on Innovation in Australian Classrooms

The Educator sheds light on a new study conducted by the School of Education at the Australian Catholic University, which has revealed the significant impact of NAPLAN on educators' ability to introduce innovative teaching methods in classrooms. Through interviews with teachers and school leaders, classroom observations, and data analysis, the research demonstrates that NAPLAN's focus on standardised testing has overshadowed its original purpose of identifying students who require additional support. The study also highlights how this high-stakes test influences curriculum decisions and resource allocation, resulting in a narrow emphasis on NAPLAN-related teaching and diminished teacher autonomy.

 

Study Reveals Shortcomings in Australian Science Curriculum

A recent study by Learning First, an education consultancy that does policy work for governments, analysed the science curriculum in Australia and compared it to seven other countries, The Sydney Morning Herald reports. The findings showed that the Australian curriculum lacks depth and breadth of content, setting students up for failure against top-performing countries. This has led to a call for an overhaul of the curriculum development and review process, as it is currently inadequate and may further widen the gap between advantaged and disadvantaged schools. While some states, such as NSW, have implemented new syllabuses to address this issue, others like Victoria still fall short. Head of Learning First, Ben Jensen, hopes that the upcoming release of Victoria's new science curriculum will bring about significant changes in content.

 

Survey Reveals High Attrition Rates Among Early Career Teachers

ABC News recounts a recent survey conducted by the Australian Education Union (AEU) that revealed that a significant number of new teachers are considering leaving the profession within a decade. The survey showed that 39 per cent of early career educators are planning to quit, compared to just 18 per cent in 2020. Teachers cite escalating workloads and dealing with complex student needs as reasons for wanting to leave. The AEU president has stated that the workforce is in crisis and has called for government intervention to address these concerns. While the Education Minister has acknowledged the issue and implemented initiatives to attract and retain teachers, he also acknowledges a need for long-term strategies.

 

Discussions Over Keeping Kids Safe Online

In an interview with The Educator, Liz Hegarty, Global Teen Safety Policy Manager at Discord, highlights the platform's commitment to online safety for teens. Hegarty discusses Discord's recent updates to its child safety policies, including the launch of Teen Safety Assist and Family Center tools designed to provide safety alerts, sensitive content filters, and support for families. Hegarty also touches on the importance of open communication between parents and teens for safe online navigation. The article also mentions the use of Discord as an educational resource, aiding students to collaborate on projects outside the classroom thanks to its voice and video call functions and features like Jamspace Whiteboard.

 

Study Investigates Cognitive Impact of Excessive Screen Time on Mental Health

A recent article by the The Educator provides an in-depth examination of a study conducted by Mic Moshel, a neuropsychology researcher at Macquarie University. The study explores the impact of excessive screen time on cognitive functions. Through the analysis of over 30 studies on disordered screen use, the research reveals that prolonged screen time, including activities like gaming, internet browsing, and social media or smartphone use, hinders vital brain functions such as concentration, impulse control, planning, organisation, and problem-solving. These impairments can result in mental health decline, diminished academic or professional performance, social isolation, and neglect of personal health and hygiene. The researchers emphasise the importance of comprehensive cognitive assessments to understand the severity and duration of these effects, given the growing prevalence of screen use in both work and leisure contexts.

 

Alarming Trend: One in Six Australian Men Admit Sexual Feelings Towards Children

A News.com.au article reports an increasing trend in the online sexual exploitation of children in Australia, according to a study by the University of New South Wales. The anonymous survey featured 1945 Australian men aged between 18 to over 65. It indicates that one in six Australian men reported experiencing some form of sexual feelings towards children. The issue, highlighted as a significant concern, necessitates an urgent response and preventive measures. The article also features insights from experts who suggest that the accessibility and anonymity of the internet make it easier for offenders to target vulnerable children.

 

Victoria Introduces New Tools to Help Teachers Tackle Challenging Student Behaviour

A recent ABC News article discusses the introduction of new tools to assist Victorian teachers to manage challenging student behaviour. The initiative was spurred by a survey revealing that student misbehaviour was a significant issue in classrooms, impacting teachers' morale and effectiveness. The new resources, which include an online portal with strategies for dealing with various types of disruptive behaviours, are designed to provide better support for educators. The article also emphasises the importance of equipping teachers with the skills to handle behavioural issues to ensure a conducive learning environment for all students.

 

EdTech's Role in Facilitating Flexible School Hours in Queensland

In response to new guidelines offering flexibility around operating hours for Queensland's public schools, Kelly Hollis, an Australian Curriculum Specialist at Education Perfect, discusses the role of Educational Technology (EdTech) in a potential transition to a four-day school week. In an interview with The Educator, Hollis emphasises the importance of leveraging EdTech solutions, such as pre-made digital resources, blended learning models, and Learning Management Systems, for maintaining educational standards and outcomes. Additionally, Hollis highlights the need for data to understand student needs and optimise teaching time. She also discusses the transformative potential of blended learning strategies, like flipped classrooms, and the effectiveness of multimedia elements in catering to diverse learning styles.

 

 

International

New Zealand Police Investigate Series of Online Threats to Schools

A recent article by Stuff discusses an ongoing investigation by New Zealand police into a series of online threats made across the country to institutions, such as schools. The exact nature of the threats is not disclosed, but the report indicates that they are being taken seriously, with law enforcement agencies actively engaged in the investigation. The police have urged the public to remain alert and vigilant while the investigation continues, and to report any suspicious activities.

 

 

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